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Three Trade Candidates for the Guardians to Acquire

The Cleveland Guardians are currently at the top of their division and well-seeded in the American League playoff picture. With a record of 43-22 through roughly 11 weeks of regular season baseball, their on-field success has been both entertaining and sustainable. However, the Guardians roster has some holes that need to be filled to have a real shot at winning it all this season. Whether it be the loss of former Cy Young pitcher Shane Bieber to injury or questionable play from some outfield and shortstop options, here are three free agents that would make sense for the Cleveland Guardians to acquire to further bolster this roster into the contender they can potentially be.

1. Sean Manaea, LHP, New York Mets

Sean Manaea is a 32-year-old starting pitcher who might just be the rental the Guardians desperately need in their starting rotation. Manaea currently has an ERA of 4.30, a win-loss record of 3-3, and 60 strikeouts on the season. Sean would be a great middle-of-the-rotation fit for the Guardians’ starting pitcher core. With the Mets below .500 and not looking like they will turn the corner, I expect the Mets to be sellers at the trade deadline, making Manaea available. Manaea is owed $7 million this year, which I believe is within the Guardians’ price range for a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher this year. Lastly, it is worth noting that Sean has an option year for next season worth $14 million, which could sway the Guardians away, but it is expected for him to opt out of it, thus making him a rental.

2. Bo Bichette, SS, Toronto Blue Jays

Bo Bichette rumors have been flying in Cleveland as the team may look to solidify the shortstop position moving toward the playoffs. The Blue Jays also seem like they will be sellers at the MLB trade deadline, making this trade scenario believable. Bo is having a down year, averaging just .240 with 4 home runs and an OBP of .287. Despite this, Bo is still a former 2-time All-Star and 2-time American League hits leader, and at just 26, he could be the additional offensive spark the Guardians are looking for at the shortstop position.

3. Paul Blackburn, RHP, Oakland Athletics

Paul Blackburn is my favorite potential trade candidate for the Cleveland Guardians, as I believe there is a lot of value in him as a pitcher. Paul, 30 years old, has been playing solid this season, with a win-loss record of 3-2 and an ERA of 4.11. Blackburn, an All-Star in 2022, has a small contract in the $3 million range with high upside and is under team control for next season. I do not think it will take a lot to acquire Paul, as the A’s have not asked for much in the past; Matt Olson was given up for four prospects, after all. Blackburn would be another perfect fit for a middle-of-the-rotation spot with the Cleveland Guardians as they continue toward playoff contention.

In summary, these three players—Sean Manaea, Bo Bichette, and Paul Blackburn—could fill significant holes for the Guardians and help solidify their roster for a deep playoff run. The right additions could turn this already successful team into true World Series contenders. With the Dolans rumored to be okay with spending money to help the team succeed in the current season, I expect to see a trade to help boalster the Guardians sooner rather than later.

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